C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Manufacture of sweets in unhygienic environs
Authorities fail to act against small units
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 19
Dark dingy rooms with flies all over best showcase the unhygienic conditions prevalent at a number of sweet-manufacturing makeshift outlets that have come up in Mohali town’s peripheral villages like Jagatpura, Balongi and Shahimajra. But none of the covertly run units have caught the attention of the District Health authorities.

In the wake of heightened checks and monitoring of spurious sweets by the health department, random checks by a Tribune team at some of the outlets across the city and peripheral areas revealed that while sampling of products at outlets of major names and retail sellers was being done, those manufacturing sweets like soan papdi, pateesa, milk cake and bakery items at units located along dark and dingy lanes of villages around the town had missed the vigilant eye of the officials.

On Tuesday, the Tribune found some units in Jagatpura village that were being run in unhygienic conditions. One of the units was being run from a shed located a few metres from cattle sheds that have mushroomed along the outer boundary wall of the Air Force Station. The second one was close to a large pond of stinking water. Both units are supplying sweets to outstation suppliers.

In Shahimajra village, a local manufacturer, who has three major outlets, was seen preparing sweets in the open on the terrace of a building. Being located in the village, the units have failed to catch the attention of the health authorities. None of the units had put up signboard outside the unit, apparently to evade attention of the health authorities. The units are either located in the basement or the terrace of unauthorised structures.

In the Phase 7 market, workers at a sweet shop were seen preparing khoya in extremely unhygienic conditions as flies were being attracted to a drum full of waste sugar. The compound being used to prepare the khoya was open from all sides.

At the unit of Bawa Diary in Industrial Area, Sukhpal Singh, the owners of the unit said they had installed modern units and were open to inspection.

Two manufacturers in phase 5 were using the upper floors of shops to manufacture sweets. The workers were working in a dark and dingy room. The raw material had been stacked closeby.

Enquiries revealed that due less rent and easy availability of space, a number of middle-rung manufacturers preferred unhygienic conditions in villages as there are little checks by the health department.



Jolt to wholesalers
Smriti Sharma Vasudeva
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 19
A day after the UT administration destroyed a whopping 7,500 kg of what it termed as “spurious and adulterated sweets”, the wholesale sweet manufacturers claim to have lost business worth lakhs of rupees as a fallout.

“I had bulk orders for providing sweets in three marriage parties. After reading the news published today, all three were cancelled this morning, ” said N K Singhania, owner of Chandigarh Sweets, who claimed that he was willing to get any sweet sample tested as per the laid down norms.

His claim was seconded by a group of over 20 wholesale sweet manufacturers, who were quick to form the Wholesale Sweet Manufacturers Association. The delegation met Deputy Commissioner Brijendra Singh, who said he would give them a “patient hearing” only on Thursday, October 21, to know their side of the story.

“We have invited the hoteliers, restaurateurs and sweets manufacturers to attend a presentation on safety, standard and hygiene norms on October 21. There was a pressing demand to guide them on food-safety norms. The Health Department and Medical Officer of Health (MOH) will make the presentation jointly”, said Brijendra Singh.

Members of the newly found association said that the business had been adversely affected for most of these sweet makers who operated their units in the periphery areas of the city, including in Daria village, Mani Majra and the Industrial Area.

“Terming the sweets and bakery items as spurious just at a glance is unfair. We do not mind them taking samples and getting them tested. But destroying hundreds of kilograms of “mithai” has only demoralised hundreds of workers who are employed by us. Yesterday, all our workers had tears in their eyes when they saw officials ruthlessly throwing the sweets,” they said Once a sleepy village, Daria, which is located barely 500 m from the railway station, is now a centre of sweet manufacturing business with half-a-dozen sweet manufacturing units operating in the area.

Loopholes favour offenders
Arun Sharma/TNS

Chandigarh, October 19
Even as health officials of the Chandigarh administration have claimed to have lifted hundreds of samples of food articles from different parts of the city, this has proved to be no deterrent against adulteration. In fact, loopholes in the system of sampling have proved to be a boon for the offenders.

While it takes around five-six years for a case to be decided in court, the health department has been losing almost all cases filed against shopkeepers with regard to adulterated food samples.

Sources in the health department said in 2003, while deciding the case “Ravi Kumar Kakkar vs UT State through the Food Inspector”, the UT CJM passed an order stating that four food inspectors in Chandigarh had not undergone proper training as per the Central government rules. Citing this as the reason, all those accused of adulteration won the case. More than 100 cases have already been lost by the authorities in the courts against the samples lifted prior to the year 2003, said the sources. And the cases filed in the preceding years were still pending in courts. 

Court Cases

Last year health officials lifted 231 samples from the city and filed court cases against 155 persons, who were found selling adulterated items. The items found adulterated at various shops included khoya, burfi, milk, paneer, pulses, gur and chilli powder. The samples of khoya or burfi of Gobind Sweets, Sector 46; Highway Sweets, Sector 20; Chandigarh Sweets, Industrial Area, Phase I; Kailash Sweets, Sector 30; and Sai Sweets, Sector 22; failed quality test. Samples of khoya, ghee and paneer lifted from Baba Dairy, Sector 21, on May 5 were found adulterated and the department moved court. In the cases of rehri phariwalas, the department finds it helpless to sue them, as they have no permanent address. Under such conditions, destroying the food items suspected to be inferior or adulterated are destroyed on the spot



CWG probe: IT raids IREO Group’s city office
Firm, owned by BJP leader’s kin, got games contracts
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 19
The tremors of the ongoing multiagency investigation into the Commonwealth Games scam were felt in the city today with income tax sleuths swooping down on the offices of the IREO Group, a firm owned by Lalit Goyal, a relative of controversial BJP leader Sudhanshu Mittal, in the city and Ludhiana.

The raids, which were part of the IT operations initiated in Delhi early today morning, were reportedly conducted at the same time when Mittal’s offices and residential premises were searched in New Delhi, Gurgaon and Noida. The raids commenced at exactly 9 am when the company’s office in Sector 9 opened.

Income tax officials claim the firm had secured some contracts for the just concluded Commonwealth Games in New Delhi and there were irregularities in them.

According to IT sources, while the raiding team was tipped off about the impeding morning operation late Monday night, its details were given to them barely a few minutes before the operation commenced in Delhi. “We were told to go to Sector 9 and the firms identity was disclosed to us about 15 minutes before the operation,” said an IT official who was present at the IREO office. The raid visibly took the firm’s employees aback as they apparently had no clue about it. The firm, which is about to embark on some real estate projects in Panchkula and Mohali, has about 25 employees.

While most company officials were unwilling to comment on the raid, a couple of them felt it was a fallout of the accusations made by BJP president Nitin Gadkari about the involvement of the prime minister’s office in the CWG scam.

The firm’s upcoming projects include IREO Rise, a residential project in Sector 99, Mohali, and IREO City in DLF Valley, Panchkula. Confirming the raids, IT director general (investigation) BL Razdan said they were part of investigations launched by the income tax department into CWG affairs. However, he refused to divulge any details and claimed the raids were still “going on”.

The sources said the ten-member raiding team was led by deputy director (investigation) SS Senipla. They added it was suspected that IREO had allegedly acted as a conduit to “siphon off ill-gotten wealth” earned from CWG contracts to foreign accounts. It is also suspected that investments of “dirty” money had been allegedly made in the projects floated by the company.

I-T survey on two biz houses
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 19
The Income Tax Department carried out survey operations on premises of two leading business houses, including Bharat Distributors and RK glass and crockery, here today.

Confirming the survey operations, Pawan Parmar, Commissioner Income tax (CIT 2) told The Tribune that the surveys commenced around noon and almost seven premises owned by the two groups in Sector 35, Industrial Area and other parts of the city were covered under operations.

While Parmar refused to give any details of the outcome of the survey on the plea that the operations were still underway, sources in the department said several incriminating documents found in business premises of these groups had been impounded. .

A team led by additional commissioner, Range IV, started the survey at noon and the same were underway till the filing of this report. The survey, said sources, was conducted on the basis of a tip-off regarding the discrepancies in the accounts of companies.


Hit-and-run Case
Advocate refutes SHO’s claims
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 19
Refuting claims of the SHO of the Sector 3 police station that Sukhmani Brar’s house was locked when the police team went there to arrest the accused, advocate HC Arora, who had filed a complaint with the Police Complaints Authority, today sought to produce the video footage to expose the ‘false claims” of the SHO.

Advocate Arora, the state president of the RTI Activists Federation, Punjab, produced newspaper clippings to prove that the news correspondents had talked to a servant and also to the grandfather of the accused at her Sector 36 residence after the mishap. He added that he would produce a CD from a news channel to show that the house was not locked as claimed by SHO Mahavir Singh before the authority during an earlier hearing. The police had claimed that it had conducted raids at two residences of the accused in Sector 36 as well as in Sector 9.

Arora also produced a list of seven road accidents cases registered by the Chandigarh Police under Section 304 of the IPC, claiming that the approach of the police in such cases was selective in hit-and-run cases. He sought a thorough probe into the conduct of the respondent, the SHO in the present case in particular, and against the police in general in cases where Section 304 of the IPC was invoked.



Student falls from bus, fractures leg
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 19
A 22-year-old BTech final-year student fractured his leg when he tried to board a bus at Sector 5 here yesterday. The injured was taken to General Hospital from where his family members shifted him to a private hospital.

The victim identified as Abhishek Kumar, a student of Swami Devidayal Institute, Barwala, was boarding the bus to go to the college when he fell down and got his leg crushed under the tyre of the bus.



Folk song, embroidery contests reign Day I
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 19
The Postgraduate Government College for Girls, Sector 42, organised the Zone B Panjab University Zonal Youth and Heritage Festival, which began here today on its premises.

Advisor to the Administrator, Pradip Mehra, inaugurated the event. Talking about the essence of youth festival, Mehra stated that participation in such cultural events enhanced the spirit among the youth related to cultural heritage and boost their confidence. Principal Mani Bedi in her welcome address emphasised that the annual tradition of the youth festival was a celebration of different shades of the present day youth.

In the evening session, Naval Kishore, Dean Students Welfare, Panjab University, was the chief guest and Ajab Singh, director life long learning department of Panjab University, was the guest of honour.

The eco-friendly park of the college was decorated with musical fountains bringing in aesthetical appealing range of decorations sharing motto of the college, “Higher Still”.

Dalip Kumar, public relation in charge of the youth festival, termed the event as a milestone in the history of the college, which would go a long way in achieving the cultural and academic excellence.


Shabad/Bhajan: 1st GGS KCW, Jhar Sahib; 2nd PGGCG-11 and 3rd MCM DAV-36.

Group singing (Indian): 1st MCM DAV-36; 2nd PGGCG-42 and 3rd PGGCG-11.

Classical vocal: 1st PGGCG-11; 2nd MCM DAV-36; 3rd PGGCG-42 and GGSCW-26.

Folk song: 1st MCM DAV-36; 2nd DSCW-45; 3rd PGGCG-42 and PGGCG-11.

Geet ghazal: 1st PGGCG-42; 2nd GHSC-10; 3rd MCM DAV-36.

Embroidery, phuklari: 1st DSCW-45, 2nd NCW, Machhiwara; 3rd GHSC-10.

Cross-stitch: 1st NCW, Machhiwara, 2nd PGGCG-42; 3rd GGS KCW, Jhar Sahib.

Pakhi designing: 1st NCW, Machhiwara; 2nd PGGCG-42, 3rd PGGCG-11.

Crochet work: 1st PGGCG-11, Chd; 2nd GHSC-10, Chd; 3rd GGS KCW, Jhar Sahib.

Knitting: 1st DSCW-45, Chd; 2nd GGS KCW, Jhar Sahib; 3rd MCM DAV-36, Chd.

Mehndi designing and application: 1st GHSC-10, Chd; 2nd GGSCW-26, Chd; 3rd PGGCG-11, Chd.

Rangoli: 1st GGSCW-26, Chd; 2nd DSCW-45, Chd; 3rd MCM DAV-36, Chd.

See also P3 of Lifestyle



103 & still going strong
SD Sharma

Ustad Abdul Rasheed Khan performs at PU in Chandigarh on Tuesday.
TIMELESS WONDER: Ustad Abdul Rasheed Khan performs at PU in Chandigarh on Tuesday. A Tribune photograph 

Chandigarh, October 19
Call it a celestial wonder or human perfection in art at its preeminent, the 103-old-year living legend and intuitive seer of Hindustani classical music, Ustad Abdul Rasheed Khan veritably deserved all, if his entrancing spell at a captivating Spic- Macay concert at the PU English auditorium is to go by.

Retaining the vibrant youthful freshness in his enviable voice, Ustad Rasheed Khan commenced the vocal recital with the soulful exposition of raga Puriya Dhaneshari through a vilmbat “Kangna Bolle”, which melted into a drut composition “Aeri Sultan Nizamuddin..” and a crisp taraana.

Ustad displayed his lifelong expertise and masculine melodious voice doing out captivating compositions, two each in raga Behag and Khamaj before concluding with a boisterous bhajan amidst standing ovation from the elite city audience. His voice traversed in all three octaves with luxury of sur intact, while producing sprouts of sargams and taans in his compositions. Dr Hem Raj Chandel and Shubhamoy Bhattachrya provided brilliant vocal support.

Chief guest Sameer Mathur, Home Secretary, Haryana, honoured the artistes. 



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